Which foods cause belly fat? (and swaps!)

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Which foods cause belly fat?

Rising rates of obesity and inflammation-related disorders are rapidly gaining prevalence in modern society. These factors influence, and are influenced by, the health of the gut. But I can help you with weight management by supporting the health of your gut and showing you what to avoid and what to swap for instead. I too had a huge appetite for carb heavy foods and sweet treats.  A stack of cookies or many slice of bread with butter were nothing for me to chow down on.  Now I am free from these obsessions and meet my sweet and carb cravings in much heathier ways. And my body is so grateful.

5 Foods to Avoid for Belly Fat Reduction

Belly fat is a stubborn problem and it can be hard to tackle. But diet is vital in ensuring your midsection doesn’t stay too round. If you’re looking for ways to slim down your belly area, avoid these like the plague. They reduce the diversity of healthy bacteria in your gut and increase the levels of unhealthy bacteria that cause your body to put on weight. You know this list well. But it’s time to follow it. You are worth it!

1. Refined Grains 

First, refined grains, such as white bread and breakfast cereals are filled with empty calories that can contribute to belly fat. Refined grains are made by stripping the bran, the germ and the endosperm from intact whole grains. Doing this removes many of the beneficial nutrients like fiber and antioxidants. So limit these in your diet and you are less likely to consume too many empty calories that could add inches to your waistline. You can eat four slices of white, processed bread no problem, but you can’t so easily eat the 4-5 cups of carrots it takes to eat the same amount of calories. 

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup Products 

Second, avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), an artificial sweetener found in processed foods such as soda and candy. It contains large amounts of a particular type of sugar which can increase food induced belly fat And it is well know that this type of sweetener is linked to a wider waist and a higher risk for metabolic syndrome. 

3. Processed Fats

Third, never eat processed fats such as trans fats or hydrogenated oils that can add inches to your waistline. These man-made fats are found in processed foods such as margarine and packaged baked goods and are directly linked to obesity. (1)

4. Sweet Drinks

Fourth, sugary drinks such as soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and sweetened teas are foods full of empty calories which can cause you to gain belly fat even if you’re not overeating calories with food. 

5. Processed foods

Fifth, highly processed, pre-packaged foods often contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients, such as trans fats and added sugar. So check labels to make sure you’re avoiding these harmful substances in your food. Furthermore, it’s best to avoid eating out too much or getting take away too often as these tend to contain high amounts of unhealthy fat and sodium which can contribute to belly fat.

Levels of healthy bacteria in your body decrease as you eat processed foods. Low levels of healthy gut microbes are linked to obesity. Maintaining good levels of healthy bacteria helps your body maintain a good weight.


What are the Food Swaps that Help Avoid Foods that Cause Belly Fat?

While a diet high in refined grains, HFCS, processed fats, sweet drinks and processed foods can increase your belly fat, this doesn’t mean all sweet foods are bad or that you need to banish sweet treats from your diet completely. But be sure treats are occasional treats – not every meal or even every day treats. 

So, the next time you crave something refined, processed, fatty or sweet, consider these 7 healthier swaps that are both satisfying and belly friendly. And you can satisfy your cravings while staying aligned with your health (and waist) goals. 

7 Heathier Food Swaps for a Flatter Belly

1. Water

Opt for natural water instead of sugar drinks. And if you need a little flavor in your H20 try adding some fresh fruit or herbs like mint or basil.  Water is key to keeping you from craving foods that cause belly fat.

2. Swap Favorites

Create unsweetened versions of your favorite snacks and then add spices, veggies or fruit to enhance the flavor. For example, purchase plain, unsweetened yogurt (instead of flavored, sweetened strawberry yogurt) and add fresh strawberries for sweetness. 

3. Eat Healthy Fats to Cut Belly Fat

Fill your fat craving with healthier fats from natural sources that provide essential fatty acids your body needs, such as salmon, nuts and avocados to help you cut back on unhealthy fatty treats like donuts or potato chips fried in processed oils.

4. Try NingXia to Stop Belly Fat Desserts

Supplement with NingXia Red berry-filled drink from Young Living instead of having dessert. It is a daily supplemental drink with wolfberry, plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate superfoods.  Grab this easy on the go treat at  Look in the Reduce Inflammation Bundle and in the Young Living Specialty Products area.

Studies show that individuals who eat thirty or more types of plant foods per week have increased healthy microbial diversity in their gut. This diversity of healthy gut bacteria leads to a healthier gut and lower weight. So add more fruits and vegetables, but also make sure to diversify and add new and different ones.

5. Add a Bit of Sweet

Add a bit of sweetness to your meals and snacks with fruit, sweet spices (like cinnamon or cardamom), or sweet vegetables (like sweet potatoes or beets) to keep you from needing dessert after a meal. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and get even sweeter when roasted. Toss sweet potato cubes, which you can usually find already prepped at the grocery store, in a tablespoon of avocado oil. Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Bake at 400°F for approximately 20 – 25 minutes.  This snack should keep you satisfied and not craving foods that cause belly fat.

6. Eat Fruit

Crowd out simple sugars with healthier fruit. For example, eat a piece of whole fruit for a simple, portable and quick snack. Or purchase dark chocolate-covered banana slices in the freezer section of your grocery store. Or blend up a handful of antioxidant-rich dark cherries, a tablespoon of any nut butter of your choice, 2-3 ice cubes, 1/8 t stevia and 2-4 ounces of any milk of your choice.

7. Healthy Drinks

Instead of drinking sugar and high fructose soft drinks, try flavored, unsweetened seltzer water or OliPop soda with healthy prebiotics to cut out foods that cause belly fat.

Prebiotics, like those found in OliPop soda and in abundance in plant foods such as apples, chia seeds, garlic, and onions, are nondigestible fibers that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. They also modulate the appetite-controlling hormone gherlin and cause you to feel increased satiety after eating. As a bonus, prebiotics reduce the fat storage hormone leptin. (2)  Purchase the daily prebiotic supplement ICP Daily as part of the Improve Gut Health Bundle at


Tip: Bake at home. This way you control how much, if any, sugar you add to the final product. Check out my cookbook SHORTCUT REAL FOOD: 20-minute meals for lots of ideas for healthier snacks, sweets and drinks (as well as full meals completed in 20 minutes or less!)


Tips to Stave off the Cravings for Foods that Cause Belly Fat

1. Eat a healthy diet and eat at regular times throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day and prevent cravings before they start.

2. Don’t eat carbohydrates alone. Add fiber, protein and/or fat to slow down the blood sugar rise in your body. Classic snacks following this rule are apple slices with peanut butter and hummus with carrots.

3. Ensure you get enough healthy fat from pasture-raised eggs, avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, seeds and nuts.

4. Eat magnesium-rich foods to help your body with blood sugar regulations. Try almonds, avocados, bananas, dark chocolate, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, etc.

8. Increase the amount of protein you eat to maintain lean muscle mass and increase feelings of satiety. (3)

9. Take/eat probiotics daily. Probiotics are microbes that provide health benefits and can be found in fermented foods or in supplements. Multistrain probiotics may be more helpful than single-strain probiotics for weight reduction for the same reason it is good to eat a variety of probiotic-rich foods – diversity.

Click this link to purchase the incredible Life-9 probiotic with 9 beneficial bacteria strains to “support a healthy immune function, maintain optimal metabolism, and promote normal intestinal function.” as part of the Gut Health Bundle.

Conclusion for Which Foods Cause Belly Fat

A diet high in refined grains, HFCS, processed fats, sweet drinks and processed foods can cause your belly fat to increase.  Swap these foods with flavored water, unsweetened favorites, healthier fats, berry drinks, sweet whole foods, fruit and prebiotics.

This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone. Always be sure to work with your healthcare practitioner before making any changes.


2) Everard A, Lazarevic V, Derrien M, Girard M, Muccioli GG, Neyrinck AM, Possemiers S, Van Holle A, François P, de Vos WM, Delzenne NM, Schrenzel J, Cani PD. Responses of gut microbiota and glucose and lipid metabolism to prebiotics in genetic obese and diet-induced leptin-resistant mice. Diabetes. 2011 Nov;60(11):2775-86. doi: 10.2337/db11-0227. Epub 2011 Sep 20. Erratum in: Diabetes. 2011 Dec;60(12):3307. Muccioli, Giulio M [corrected to Muccioli, Giulio G]. PMID: 21933985; PMCID: PMC3198091.

3) Leidy HJ, Carnell NS, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Feb;15(2):421-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.531. PMID: 17299116.


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